Modifying oral requests in a foreign language

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This paper uses interactive oral role-plays to examine the extent and the way in which low proficiency EFL learners mitigate their requests. The dimensions examined are internal and external modification, and request perspective. Results indicated that the learners significantly underused internal modification and opted for external modification, especially grounders, in line with previous studies. Learners also overused zero marking and showed a preference for speaker perspective. It is presently argued that unlike external modification, internal modification may <i>not</i> be part of low proficiency learners&#8217; pragmalinguistic repertoire, due to its pragmalinguistic complexity and need for extra processing effort. The learners&#8217; lack of pragmalinguistic repertoire and their reliance on need and want statements were used to explain the total lack of joint and impersonal perspective in the data and the predominance of speaker perspective.


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